Friday, December 23, 2011

Out of darkest December ...

And, with the Winter Solstice, into the light.

Very gradually into the light.  It will be weeks before I notice a slight lengthening of the daylight, and it will feel like a tease.  Day will be longer, but the ground will still be frozen and, potentially, snow-covered.

There are homey comforts to be enjoyed in winter, of course: sitting with dogs by the fire, being snowed in on a workday, Christmas Eve in church, a hot mug of spicy herbal tea.

But December has sometimes been a hard month at my house.  Sixteen years ago I said farewell to my mom, Ruth Ann,  at her funeral on December 20th, as a snowstorm raged (now wasn't that fun!).  And on the 19th of this December, we said goodbye to my mother-in-law, Grace.  Fortunately this time, there was snow on the ground only, not piling up around us.

So I have reason to dislike December. Clearly, I have difficulty keeping in mind the message of Christmas: it's hard, but it will pass; the Lord is Emanuel; He is here. Fear not.

Fear not, said the angels.

OK, I'm trying.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A midget mea culpa

It's my fault, as much as anyone's. What do I do now?

I paid bills last night -- 10 of them, including a couple of charitable contributions.  This took me a whole twenty minutes on my computer, even stopping to let the dogs out and in again, and pausing to grab a can of Diet Coke.

Then I went downstairs and turned on the TV. And there it was, right on CNN -- the Post Office is in worse shape than ever. Half of the processing centers (including a BIG one near me) may have to close.  People are going to lose jobs. This sucks. Merry Christmas, you're unemployed.

What now? Go back to writing and mailing checks? Send Christmas cards? (I had to give that up years ago; besides, we have a wonderful parish Christmas card now that we all contribute a message to, and it goes to everyone on the mailing list. Too tempting to refuse). I'm afraid I'm not a good enough person to take a step backwards from e-checks, e-cards, and e-mail.

Which makes me wonder ... what other kinds social problems am I helping to cause, without even meaning to?

Is this what's called "structural sin"? And what do we do about it?